Finding a Support Buddy

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2022

Many people with cancer may experience strong emotions, including fear, anger, or sadness. Most family members and friends want to offer their help and support. But it can be difficult to discuss cancer with someone who has never had the disease.

Support groups are a good place to connect with other people coping with cancer. Connecting one-on-one with a survivor of the same type of cancer who has faced the same issues you are facing may also help. Many organizations offer “buddy programs” that match you with a survivor of the same type of cancer. Through this relationship, you get personalized support throughout your cancer treatment.

Below are buddy programs for people with cancer. Some are open to anyone with cancer, and others focus on helping a specific patient community, such as by cancer type and/or age.

Buddy programs for people with cancer

4th Angel Mentoring Program provides free, one-on-one, confidential telephone support for people with cancer and their caregivers. Trained mentors who are cancer survivors or have been a caregiver to a person with cancer offer support and guidance during a difficult time.

American Cancer Society: Reach to Recovery connects people with breast cancer to breast cancer survivors. Participants can also receive information on various breast cancer issues and concerns.

Cancer Hope Network has been providing one-on-one peer support for patients and the people who love them for 40 years, connecting them with trained Support Volunteers who provide first-hand experience, mentoring, and hope.

Colorectal Cancer Alliance Buddy Program matches a survivor with a person with colorectal cancer. In addition to receiving emotional support, people with cancer get tips and advice about how to cope with treatment, side effects, and other important issues.

Friend for Life Cancer Support Network is a network of cancer survivors and caregivers who provide compassionate, one-on-one support to others diagnosed with cancer and to their loved ones.

Imerman Angels matches a person with cancer with someone who has completed treatment for the same type of cancer. The program also matches caregivers.

Lung Cancer Alliance Phone Buddy Program matches people living with lung cancer with volunteers who have completed or are going through lung cancer treatment. Caregivers and family members also can be matched with a buddy who is coping with a similar situation.

The Ulman Foundation offers a Patient Navigation program to provide resources and support for young adults dealing with cancer at specific locations in Maryland. 

Young Survival Coalition Peer Match program allows young people with breast cancer to connect with fellow patients and survivors who volunteer in this program. This program matches people based on specific concerns and issues, such mastectomy and breast reconstruction, cultural issues, advanced disease, and family risk of breast cancer.

To find out more about buddy and support programs offered by other organizations, review a list of general cancer groups and cancer-specific resources.

If you know of a correction or addition to the information provided here, please email

This list is provided for informational purposes only. Cancer.Net and ASCO do not endorse the content, operators, products, or services of such applications and websites and are not responsible directly or indirectly for any damages or injury caused by or in connection with use of any content, products, or services available through third-party applications and websites. As always, be sure to talk with your health care team about any questions you may have about information you find.

Related Resources

Online Communities for Support

Making Important Decisions During Cancer: A Survivor’s Story

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